Joan Grace

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Professor Charlotte A.B. Yates


This study is an exploration of why policy outcomes in the sectors of child care and unemployment insurance, between the time period 1972 to 1996, did not meet the policy goals of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) in Canada and the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI). Specifically, this study sought to explain why successive governments in Canada and Ireland persistently resisted the implementation of policy goals put forth by NAC and NWCI in the sectors of child care and unemployment insurance, or when they did respond, policy outcomes had differential impacts on women. With this is mind, the overall research question of this study was: What happened to the policy goals of NAC and NWCI once they were articulated to government?

In order to answer this question, this study merged the theoretics of historical-institutionalism with feminist political economy into a theoretical framework I have termed feminist-institutionalism. This framework was applied to argu that policy institutions (as mediators and containers of gendered social relations) redefine feminist policy goals articulated by women's groups to goverment into gendered policy outcomes that often undermine the original intent of those goals. I have called this process of redefinition policy transformation. By employing a framework of analysis - three spheres of policy transformation - this study comparatively maps out the processes, institutions and factors within the marco-political policy context which contributed to an overall lack of success on the part of NAC and NWCI in the realization of their child care and unemployment insurance policy goals. One of the conclusions of this study is that NAC and NWCI were equally unsuccessful even given stark differences between macro-political institutional structures and interest representation systems in Canada and Ireland.

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